Kenmore Furnace burners not coming on

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Old 10-01-20, 05:48 PM
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Kenmore Furnace burners not coming on

Its a Kenmore (looked around the unit and no model #), came with the house so its at least 16 years old but I believe the previous owner said it was 2-3 years old. This is the 1st time I've had an issue with it.

The burners are not coming on so there is no heat. I can hear it cut on, fan/blower is running, but no flames. I checked it hours later after leaving it running and there was a flame right in the middle(red circle) but not in the burners.

Its going to be in the 40's at night for the next 3 days and back to mid 50's-60 next week, do I need to worry about frozen pipes? I don't think so but want to be sure. I don't have enough experience to say that I will be able to fix it myself but I already got a suggestion to consider buying a new one so I was hoping to get help in diagnosing the issue 1st to make an informed decision .... which could mean 1 - 2 weeks with no heat.

Thanks!




 

Last edited by PJmax; 10-01-20 at 08:12 PM. Reason: labeled picture
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Old 10-01-20, 08:19 PM
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I don't know where you live so I can't address the pipes freezing.

Just FYI..... gas furnaces need routine maintenance. That looks like it has a water leak and that needs to be addressed. That furnace is more than 2-3 years old. I highly recommend professional servicing every other year. Your local gas supplier usually has good cost effective service people.

I hijacked your picture. The yellow arrow should be pointing to an ID tag where you will find the model number and probably the age too.

The red arrow is pointing to the draft inducer and a rubber line.
The white arrow is pointing to the pressure switch and the other end of the rubber line.
Make sure that draft inducer is running.
There may be a sight glass in the blower door where you could look into to see a fault LED flashing.

Carefully remove the rubber hose. Make sure it's clear and clean. Check for it connects at the draft inducer. There may be a microscopic hole inside the fitting. That hole must be open. A pin or small piece of wire should work.
 
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Old 10-02-20, 09:41 AM
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I didn't worded that correctly .... I said it was at least 16 year old(purchased home) and meant to add that previous owner said it was at fairly new .. I thought 2 -3 year old but I could be mixing this up with the Roof & Siding. Unfortunately, I was young, it was a fixer-upper and I wasn't suppose to be here more then 3 years so I didn't pay attention to these critical details of a home purchase.

It is old .. I'm in shock


I live in IL if that helps. temp has dropped to the 40's at night, I might have to be out for 2 days so I want to be sure the pipes are safe.

Occasionally, it seems like if I turn the Thermostat off for long periods of time, the burners will initially come on but it doesn't last. Yesterday, it came on and stayed on so I didn't want to disturb it. I will get a Professional to service the Furnace next week.
 
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Old 10-02-20, 11:47 AM
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Unfortunately the installer drilled thru the model number unless from a different angle you can see it.
That looks to be 1993-1995 vintage. +/- 25 years old. That furnace needs to have its heat exchanger checked for rust thru which would allow CO into the home.

With that age I doubt i has a control board with a fault LED. You could confirm by removing the lower blower access door and either taking a picture or post the part number off the control board.

That rubber line still needs to be checked.
 
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Old 11-29-20, 02:55 PM
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Hi PJmax.

PJmax

Its happening again, can I ask you to hold my hand a bit on this before I call a HVAC company and get charged an arm & a leg? Electric & Gas related tasks ... make me nervous.

Carefully remove the rubber hose. Make sure it's clear and clean. Check for it connects at the draft inducer. There may be a microscopic hole inside the fitting. That hole must be open. A pin or small piece of wire should work.
The red rubber line you wanted me to check .... I am only pulling it off on the side close to the draft inducer, right? Where is the small hole located .. on this side too? What should I do if there is debris in it, just empty is out, right?

The draft inducer is running, no flames coming on. It has been working since I made the post so I decided to leave it alone. Yes, not the wisest choice but I gave a bit more context in the next post below (tried to highlight key points) .... if that helps.
 
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Old 11-29-20, 03:00 PM
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A bit more history ...

.......
Looking back this probably happened in late April since I would notice the house being colder despite the furnace being on but I would just increase the temperature. Then in late July/early August, a similar issue was happening with my A/C (A/C connects into the furnace and is controlled by the same thermostat) so I had a HVAC rep come out and the issue was not the A/C unit. When I mentioned the furnace thing, he was convinced it was the furnace and started inspecting it.

He did point out that he could tell the heat exchange was old but I find it interesting that he did not do what you asked me to do in order to figure out the Serial #no and model #. He said it was time to start thinking about replacing the furnace at the tune of $8500 .... and how do I say this .... I'm a woman and I could tell you stories, so suffice to say that I was going to investigate his claim but I see you have confirmed that I need it re-checked asap. He didn't say he saw rust, just said it was old. He did pulled it out, spent time looking around, tightened wires, etc,

However, there was nothing he could find as the cause for cold air not circulating thru the furnace except the lower door. He would get it running, waited for 5 mins to see if it would stop, put the lower door on and it would stop. It seems like he had to eventually do something to it or the ... door latch.

Cold air was flowing thru the house perfectly until I turned it off. I did test the heat and I was getting mixed results ergo my post but once I turned it on and left it on, its been running fine.
 
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Old 11-29-20, 04:30 PM
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I'm fairly certain that the L9540 = 40th week of 1995 or October 1995 for date of manufacture.

When you pull the pressure switch line off the draft inducer nipple...... there will be a fitting that holds the hose on but down inside that fitting is a tiny hole. That tiny hole must be clear. You'll need to use a pin, a tiny drill bit or small piece of wire.
 
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Old 11-29-20, 09:06 PM
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Hi PJmax

I spent so much time looking for a safety pin and went out to buy one ..... but I didn't need it after all. The hose is open. I tried emptying it and water came out more than debris, so I let it hang for a 10 mins. I also checked the opposite side and it is attached firmly.


The good news is that it started working again after about 4-5 hours so is some condition forcing it to turn off the flames and then it clears after being idle? Is the water in the hose an indicator of the issue? I left for errands and came back to a warm house and its at the thermostat temp so not running right now. I read a few other posts and saw a mention of changing the filter so I bought a new one since I couldn't remember if its been 90 days yet. I replaced the old one but it wasn't bad at all.
 
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Old 11-29-20, 10:21 PM
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I can't see the part clearly that you circled. That is what needs to be cleaned. It looks pretty cruddy. Route that hose so that it doesn't have a dip in it. That dip will hold water. You may also have water coming in thru your flue system.

Looks like corrosion all over the top of the burner box.
 
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Old 11-29-20, 11:38 PM
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PJmax

I messed up ... I went to clean the part that you indicated and broke off the teeth of an old cheap comb since I didn't find safety pins at the Dollar Tree store. I cleaned it and then decided to try going as far as I can and now its not stuck in there. Its my fault since I know the comb teeth wasn't that long and shouldn't have done that. I've tried using tweezers to get it out but it just got stuck deeper.

Any ideas on what to do? Should I turn it on hoping it will blow out OR would it even start if the red hose is not connected? I'm upset at myself ... I had bobby pins that I should have used instead ... completely forgot. I feel sick ....

draft inducter part, before & after

Which one is preferred?
 
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Old 11-30-20, 12:08 PM
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Any ideas or should I just call someone? My main concern is freezing pipes .. I live in the Chicagoland area low 30's right now & 20's at night. I have a space heater so I can manage but how about the pipes, at what temp would I get in trouble?

I'm going to step out during my lunch break to Menards/Home Depot to see if I can find something small enough to get it out.
 
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Old 11-30-20, 12:50 PM
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Shouldn’t be a huge issue but I wouldn’t want plastic in there that would melt. Just pop the inducer housing off and get it out.
That nipple isn’t so small that you need a comb tooth. It’s a bigger passage then that.
 
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Old 11-30-20, 01:52 PM
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I was able to get it out ..using 2 safety pins. Whew! The stuck teeth-comb part was now preventing the furnace from starting and I could smell the burnt plastic ..... forgot to mention this earlier so I went from a furnace that works 80% to not at all. It's running right now but no telling when the flames will go off and refuse to cut on again.

PJmax I have completed cleaning the part, this time I used a safety pin. What's next? Here are more close-ups


 
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Old 11-30-20, 07:00 PM
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If the comb piece had fallen in it would have just melted. Wouldn't have been a problem.

In your picture we are looking at the part where the hose attaches....the nipple. If you look back at my diagram you'll see a tiny hole down inside that fitting. Your fitting may not have that tiny hole but if it does.... it needs to be cleaned. If your fitting is completely open..... try putting something thru there. A skewer, a piece of wire, a finishing nail..... something that will go in about an inch. If it only goes in a little bit..... you have that tiny hole. If it goes on in at least an inch..... you should be all set.

The hose over the motor is good.

 
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Old 11-30-20, 09:45 PM
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Yeah, the comb piece didn't fall in which leads me to believe my fitting has a tiny hole. After it got stuck in, furnace didn't start at all.

I got a safety pin, straightened it out and used that instead. The length of the safety pin used was longer than the fitting so I think I cleaned it. I can try again in the morning with something longer.

As of now, I say this issue still exists though. Once it started working again, I ..
  1. - Set the temp to 75, house was 67(turned on oven to keep warm) and went back to work
  2. - After maybe 2 hours, the house was at 72 with furnace is still "running", went downstairs and confirmed no flames.
  3. - Came back upstairs and noticed house temp had dropped to 71. Decided to deploy my current resolution of "turning it off" by resetting thermostat 61 and give it 4-5 hours to rest.
 
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Old 11-30-20, 11:03 PM
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Its been 5+ hours, took thermostat back up to 75 .. its "running" no flames. Repeated the cleaning, made no difference.
 
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Old 12-01-20, 04:47 AM
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What error is the unit displaying?
You don’t have to “let it rest”. Cycling power will reset any errors.
 
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Old 12-01-20, 08:02 AM
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roughneck77

I don't see no unit that displays an error ( I have pics in the 1st post). It looks like this is a 1995 model.

This is what the Power switch looks like ... just turn if off and on ... do I have to do anything with that Buss Fuse ..button? Or are you talking about something else.

 
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Old 12-01-20, 08:26 AM
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The board will be in the blower compartment.
I’ll second what was said previously in this thread, that the heat exchanger needs to be checked before proceeding. A furnace that old has a very high likelihood of having a crack or rot, which effectively makes the furnace unusable and puts occupants of the home in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
That’s just a fuse, not a button.
 
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Old 12-01-20, 08:39 AM
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roughneck77

I'll start making calls to have the heat exchanger checked, but I know what will be said .... I should just buy a new furnace. Maybe I'll have my brother take the lead on this.

But in the meantime, just turning it off and on is all I need to cycle power? And I should not touch the fuse at all, right?
 
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Old 12-01-20, 08:46 AM
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Cycling power will reset the error. But you first need to see what the error is. And then use that to further diagnose your issues.
Turning power on and off isn’t going to fix your problems. You still have more diagnosing to do.
 
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Old 12-01-20, 12:36 PM
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Stuck at work all day, no flames at all at this point.

I called Sears and earliest appointment assigned to me is tomorrow btw 1 - 7pm, but I'll still call around to see if I can get one with someone else today.

Can I ask for preventative measures to prevent pipes from freezing?

Since it a 25 year old system, I have to consider that I may have to replace it instead .... already gotten that suggestion 2ce. Where do start my research?


The board will be in the blower compartment.
I don't think I have a board that shows visible error codes or else the technician(post #6) would have referenced that. I think I took pictures so let me find it and post. Due to reasons stated in #6, I was hesitant to open the lower door, but if the furnace is not working at all anymore then I have nothing to lose. I won't be able to do anything until after work ... aka ~ 4 hours.
 
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Old 12-01-20, 02:38 PM
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I found some old pictures .... where would the error code be?

This has to be a single stage furnace, right? (started to research the different types .... )

where would the error code be?
 
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Old 12-01-20, 04:21 PM
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So I was right, got a HVAC company to send someone out and he's been here 5 mins. He is inspecting the heat exchanger to make sure its even safe to work on it. He's advice so far is that since its over 20 years old and heat exchanger is old ... repairs are going to be expensive so he would recommend just installing a new one.

$85 service fee for this information
 
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Old 12-01-20, 07:17 PM
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I can’t see if that board has a diagnostic light or not.
What was the determination of the tech?
 
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Old 12-01-20, 08:16 PM
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Heat exchanger does have rust.

I don't think the board has a diagnostic light cos wouldn't the technician have seen it, diagnosed it and given me more descriptive info other than "its an issue with the circuit board sending a message to open the gas valve". I would think he would be able to determine why the circuit board wasn't doing it.

Yes, I didn't get a written quote, just a verbal quote of about $2000 to fix circuit board and gas valve issue. I decided to stay in the background and let my brother stand in front .... won't do that again. But technician was focused on getting me into a new furnace by tomorrow and I got a quote for that, tried to get me on a call with his manager, etc.

Anyway, I've been on Youtube trying to understand how a furnace works to connect the function of a circuit board to the gas valve and also learning on types of furnaces to aid in a purchase decision.

After $110 spent, not sure if I should spend another $80 for Sears to give me the same info.
 
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Old 12-01-20, 08:19 PM
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To give credit, it is running now but he didn't guarantee it would work. Again, didn't tell me what he did.
 
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Old 12-01-20, 08:31 PM
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The board just sends 24V to the gas valve when the safety circuit is closed and pre purge is completed. Nothing really special or involved.
Make sure there’s 24V on the gas valve when there should be. If not, you have to trace back and find out why.
It sounds like the tech was trying to sell. Which is unfortunate. A lot of techs are pushed to sell, some are payed on sales commissions.
 
 

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